Although I wasn't able to attend PodCamp Toronto this year, I've been doing my best to catch up on some of what went on there. One of those sessions was a live recording of Inside PR, and I just got a chance to listen to it today. During the course of that recording, one of the audience members told Inside PR that she had recently listened to a webcast where the moderator asked the panel of PR pros what a a Social Media Press Release was, and that they couldn't answer (the fact that a panel of apparent PR professionals couldn't explain what a SMR was is another blog post altogether...).
Fortunately, the Inside PR guys were able to answer the question for her, and I really like their answers.
David Jones made the point of saying that the Social Media Press Release (though I prefer the simpler term Social Media Release) is really just "an online, electronic press kit" and that "it is a place to put multimedia content around your client's traditional, static, text press release."
"It is just an easy place to point people to get content," he adds. This is similiar to what Martin Waxman says when he notes that the Social Media Release isn't a magic bullet - just because you've created a release with multimedia content around doesn't mean it will result in coverage for your client. It is a part of a strategy (see #4 on Mitch Joel's list of ways to pitch a writer), but only one part and not the whole thing.
I would also like to add to Terry Fallis' point about breaking out and seperating the quotes in the release. It does make it easier for people to quickly see what is being said and by whom, but I think it is only a stylistic choice. Seperating the quotes can be dones just as easily in a traditional news release, and it all comes down to what the writer thinks the best way to tell the story is.
If I remember correctly, some of the early thoughts on styling a SMR called for breaking out the quotes and providing the information in point form. Again, they are both just stylistic choices.
On a related note, I'm impressed with the quality of the live-recordings of Inside PR. The audience participation also really adds to it, and I think the team should look for more chances to do these.